Early Rains Cause Delay for Farmers

North State farmers navigating the challenges of harvesting crops when the rains come early.

Posted: Oct 4, 2018 4:59 PM
Updated: Oct 4, 2018 5:08 PM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - North State farmers navigating the challenges of harvesting crops when the rains come early.

Farmer Ryan Schohr is the owner of Schohr Ranches, where his staff and family harvest rice and walnuts. However, all of the work has been put on hold because of the rainfall. 

"That's been a challenge trying to work with mother nature," Schohr said. "We come home with muddy boots but that's to be expected this time of year." 

Schohr said that the quality of the crop is the most important when it comes to harvesting in poor weather conditions. 

"We want to make sure we get the crop out of the field before this rain starts to degrade the quality," he said. "We want to preserve that to make the best possible rice to send to customers around the world." 

Usually, after a rain, farmers have to wait a day or two before they can begin their harvest again. 

"The last couple of days we've experienced showers that maybe only lasted 15 minutes, but that sets us back another day or two and prevents the plants from drying out," he said. 

The fields can become very muddy, so it makes it difficult to get tractors and equipment across the field. 

"Imagine trying to cut your lawn in the rain," Schohr said. "We face the same thing."

Once they start harvest season, the workers get into a routine, but the weather can sometimes throw that off. 

"Often times we get all the machines and employees ramped up to go to harvest and we maybe go for an hour or so and then we've had a rain and have to shut down and get everything parked," he said. "The crop we do have harvested we have to quickly get into the warehouse." 

Schohr said he was lucky that his walnut harvest finished up right before the rainstorms started coming into the valley. 

"Where will those crops - whether it be rice or walnuts - go to market if their quality isn't what it's supposed to be?" he said. 

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Grab your jacket and and give yourself extra time to get where you're going Friday morning. We have brisk temperatures and areas of dense fog across northern California early today. Sunny skies and warm temperatures are ahead for the rest of your Friday and this weekend. Cooling down with the chance for showers early next week.
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